companion blog to the e-book the 24/7 Low Carb Diner

Companion blog to the e-book
Available at

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bacon Crusted Cheeseballs on a Stick

Like I always say. any food is more fun served on a stick. These are no exception. If you like cheeseballs, you will love these. If you are a fan of bacon, all the better! This is one of the recipes I am including in the May Diner News--an issue totally devoted to food on sticks. I have kabobs and skewers, appetizers, lunch picks and even dessert on a stick. It is an issue you will not want to miss. So much fun!

I have a big week coming up. Three days at convention will leave no time for cooking. Better have a plan! Then, we head out of town to see my sweet middle son graduate college with honors. I am so proud of his accomplishments, and happy that God has blessed him with such talent. He was artistic from his early days. He can make art out of anything pretty much like I can make a recipe out of most anything. Unless a job calls him away really soon, he will be moving back home full time. I love having my boys around, so I am really happy. Not that I don't want him to get a good job; I do. I would just prefer it be nearby his Mom.

These little cheeseballs on a stick would be perfect graduation party food. Maybe you have a graduate too? With all the cake and punch receptions, these would surely be appreciated.

Bacon Crusted Cheeseballs on a Stick

6 slices of bacon 
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
3/4 tsp garlic powder

Soften cream cheese. Fry bacon until crisp and set aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, shredded cheese, chives and garlic powder. Chill for 20-30 minutes. Crumble bacon. If using thick sliced, you may need to cut it with kitchen shears. Place the crumbles in a shallow small bowl. Using a scoop or spoon, roll a walnut sized ball of cheese. Coat it with bacon crumbles and set it on a plate. Repeat with the remaining cheeseball mixture. Place lollipop sticks or food picks into each cheeseball. Chill until serving time.

12 servings    163 calories   5 g protein   13 g fat    1.3 net carbs

If you are in a time crunch, you might use the packaged bacon crumbles, but ours with the thick chunks of bacon have wonderful flavor!

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

Order our books at: 

Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Among Friends Thursday -Carolyn's No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

Wow. Did Carolyn ever give these the wrong name. I think more along the lines of "Hide Them From the Kids Bars" or maybe even "Slap Me If I Try to Eat More Bars." Delicious doesn't do them justice. Add rich in there too. Carolyn unassumingly says, "If you like peanut butter cups, you will love these. They are remarkably easy to make and don't require baking." Like the no bake part is the selling point? That is like dressing Marilyn Monroe in a flour sack. Come on, these are delish--who cares how easy they are to make? That is just a bonus.

 The recipe calls for peanut flour. I finished off a package of that, and added the rest as PB2. I think either would work fine, mine just happened to be half and half. My flour was from Trader Joes. Last time I checked that was no longer available, but I think Netrition has some of a different brand.

Now, be prepared. You need to obey Carolyn's serving size. Just because they taste great, you must be ready to control yourself. Cut a bar, wrap the others and hide them. Don't leave them on the kitchen counter. Everytime you pass by you might cut off another sliver. Think like real peanut butter cup candies. Two small ones are actually more than enough. One square here should do. 16 servings mean you get away with 184 calories and only 2 carbs. If you eat more, those calories are gonna add up fast. Remember in our way of eating, even though these are low carb, they are still a treat. Go eat some greens, then promise yourself a dessert of a No Bake Peanut Butter Bar. If you are ready to make them, then resist them, then go to page 199 of Low Carbing Among Friends. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bacon Lettuce Roll-ups

So the hubster came home from a visit at Sam's Club with three pounds of bacon. Not on the list, so I take this as a not so subtle hint. Out comes the big cookie sheet to bake up a batch of bacon. I generally try to get three dishes out of a pound. That is sometimes hard to do when we keep nibbling. Oven baking is awesome. None of that curling or spattering grease in your face when it pops. Ouch. Besides, I like my bacon crisped, so I hate those undercooked curls that never make contact with the skillet. Yuck. Oven baked bacon is easiest to crumble into salads too. Even the fatty parts crisp up. I get the edge pieces since I prefer crisp. The aforementioned husband gets the bendable slices from the center of the pan. The kids get whatever. They are not as picky.

This time I was successful in getting three dishes from a pound of bacon. First, I made a wonderful scramble with bell pepper, mushrooms and spinach. (And duh, the eggs and bacon of course.) We also added a sprinkle of Jack cheese to melt on top. Next, I made the roll ups for my guys' lunch.

The fun thing with these is trying to get the lettuce to stay rolled. For my bottom leaf, I was using iceberg lettuce. It was thick and already curly. I roll in the direction of the curl. There is no arguing with lettuce. Over that, I put some fresh from the herb garden specialty lettuce leaves for color and a few more vitamins. Then a layer of cream cheese. I put one down the center, then a blob on the edge to act like glue. This morning, I put these wonderful tiny grape tomatoes in a line down the roll. Then, on with the bacon slices. Roll 'er up and use the extra cream cheese to glue the lettuce together. I admit one worked better than the other. But then one roll up was actually two leaves, so it fought me a little bit. All ends up the same in the tummy they say.

I had just a couple of bacon slices left over, so I made a broccoli salad. I love adding a tablespoon of the bacon grease to my mayo dressing. I also sweeten our dressing a tad, and add dehydrated onion flakes. Seriously delicious, even though John is not a huge broccoli fan. Bacon makes most anything better. Good thing since I have two more pounds in the fridge. Ah, the joys of the wholesale club!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Among Friends Thursday -Maria's Crunchy Cheesy Bites

I love snacks. Snacks don't love me. I tend to get carried away. Same is true for these addictive snacks. I played around a little with Maria's basic recipe--don't I always? Seems I never make the same thing twice! I am really trying not to eat the whole batch here today. I made two flavors and I love them both.

Rather than cheddar cheese, I used Pepper Jack. Mine turned out to be a little mild--after all, I do love some heat. So, for the second batch, I added some Jalapeno Salt. Wow. Is that great! For the first batch, I wanted to amplify the taste too, so I coated them with nacho flavored popcorn salt. Those are terrific too. I can't decide which are my favorites! The brands I used are Konriko Jalapeno seasoning (very salty so add just a tad) and Kernel Season's Nacho Cheddar Popcorn Seasoning.

These are the Nacho flavor, the Jalapeno Bites are in the top photo.

Just a hint: Mine did not take as long in the oven as Maria's recipe calls for. I was baking mine on silicon mats rather than parchment, so that could have contributed, not sure. I think my first batch was in only 15 minutes and the second pan was in for 20. Since ovens may vary, be sure not to set the timer and walk away. A few of  mine stuck to my silpat, but none even tried to stick to the regular silicon liner. Go figure!

If you want to try these delicious treats, go to page 93 in Low Carbing Among Friends. My best advice: as soon as they are cool, bag them up into portion sizes and hide them in the pantry.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Warm Tomato Basil Goat Cheese Salad

Busy time of year for me. You too? I have several projects in the works--not all about food. I have some exciting things going on with my love of teaching too. Not ready for any announcements, but exciting all the same. Having my mind preoccupied with that makes it harder to come up with new culinary experiments. That is when I am extra glad my Diner System keeps me sane. I was looking at my menu for the week and realized the only testing I am doing is my Among Friends meal planned. Good to know all my old favorites serve us well. Maybe I will get creative again soon when life permits.

This salad really is not a recipe. It is a little different though, and in case you never thought of heating some grape tomatoes for a warm salad, here ya go! I was never too fond of raw tomatoes. I do have a love relationship with small tomatoes sauteed in olive oil, however. They take on a whole new taste. I often serve them as a simple side dish, but tonight, I decided to try a salad. I had seen some inexpensive goat cheese at Aldi and popped it into my cart. So in place of the regular green salad on the menu for tonight, I made this warm, healthy delight. I clipped fresh herbs from my herb garden. I always feel good growing my own. If only the grasshoppers didn't always eat my attempts at growing vegetables. Sticking with herbs this year, I think. I have a small globe basil that is doing great! I am growing lettuce too, and so far that is working well. I just grab a few leaves to pep up our regular iceberg and romaine mix. I pick a few, and my pots put on some new leaves. Loving that. Not sure how they will handle our Oklahoma heat later in the summer. No warm salads then, so I had better enjoy this one now!

Warm Tomato Basil Goat Cheese Salad

(for two, feel free to multiply for more servings)
1 cup grape tomatoes (or cherry)
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
3 tbsp loosely packed basil leaves
2 tbsp fresh chives 
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 ounce goat cheese

2 tbsp vinegar (mine is home made basil flavored vinegar)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Heat a saute pan with olive oil. Saute grape tomatoes for 2-3 minutes until they soften, shaking the pan frequently. Set aside. Chop the green pepper and herbs. Add the tomatoes to a bowl, stir in the herbs. Combine the dressing ingredients and pour the desired amount over the salad. Top with chunks of goat cheese and serve.

The goat cheese is creamy and the dressing is tart. The tomatoes pop with flavor. Add any other vegetable you like. The vegetables are almost trivial in comparison! You may have some vinaigrette left over, like we did. It will keep. I like to use leftovers on grilled veggies for lunches. I also like to make tuna salads with vinaigrette instead of mayo. Any more ideas for leftover dressing?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Among Friends Thursday --Kent's Red Enchilada Sauce with Chicken

I love Mexican food. I love enchiladas. But since we don't do much gluten, enchiladas are a little more work. Tonight I wanted the flavors of an enchilada, but not the effort it took to make a gluten free tortilla. After all, is it really the tortilla that gives the flavor? Nope. It is Kent's Red Enchilada Sauce.

If you read the label on canned enchilada sauce, you will find starches and stabilizers. Are they really necessary? Nope. This sauce is easy to put together. It is easy to serve.  It has that flavor you remember. Because my hubby is sensitive to spicy heat, I halved the amount of cayenne. I think next time I might have to leave it out all together--or make one batch for us and one jar just for him. Maybe I have a really hot jar of cayenne, but even my son's fiance thought it was spicy. Ahh. Another gringo. I loved the heat. I was amazed how this does taste just like the sauces from restaurants. Other than decreasing the cayenne a bit, I also blended my tomato sauce using my immersion blender. I left it just a little chunkier than the canned sauce. Loved that touch. It is definitely better than the canned stuff. Thanks Kent.

For simplicity, I poured ours over some chicken breasts and baked them in the oven. Then a sprinkle of cheese. Was that too much trouble? Nope again. If you want to try something that sounds even yummier than my simple chicken, try Kent's recipe for Enchilada Chicken Paillard, on page 297. If only I had picked up peppers at the grocery. That dish sounds amazing. I am going to try it out with the leftovers of the sauce I have from tonight. The Red Enchilada Sauce recipe is on page 313 of Low Carbing Among Friends. But the book if you haven't yet. The recipes really are amazing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ham Salad in Everything Egg Crepes

Looking for a way to use up the leftover ham from Easter? These make a yummy lunch. Actually at my house, it is even using up extra colored eggs. My guys are not big fans of hard boiled eggs. They wouldn't even eat the gorgeous marbled eggs I made for the April Diner News. Because of their hard boiled aversion, our clan colors raw eggs at Easter. So far we have no little ones to break the eggs. Yes, you would assume that since we are all adults, the egg dyeing would have ended. Nope. Most of us have an artsy or at least crafty side, and we love our annual eggfest. Because we can easily color 5 dozen eggs, we keep them raw. That makes them more versatile. My mom still can't believe how many eggs my family can go through each week. With scrambles, quiches, muffins and breads, pancakes and crepes...we go through them. Even if none of the 5 dozen are hard boiled! This is also a great time for me to make several breakfast casseroles for the freezer. Those usually take at last a dozen. The good news is that dyed raw eggs perform just the same as their white or brown counterparts. No tint gets into the inside, so all is good.  My job is hard in one way--having to choose to which of our little masterpieces to break!

The wrap here was an experiment. I usually make coconut flour crepes. This time I tried a combo of almond flour and coconut flour. It worked about the same. Most of the texture still comes from the eggs themselves, so they are nothing like a wrap or tortilla. They do the same job however, if you are willing to eat with a fork instead of your fingers. They really are not quite firm enough to handle as a sandwich.

My filling today was diced ham mixed with some red onion, jack cheese, celery and mayo. No secret recipe there. Sugarfree pickle relish would be good, but I was out.

Now the crepe. I tried to make these more interesting and make them akin to an everything bagel. To the batter I added seeds and onion flakes. Sounded interesting, but I really couldn't taste them too much. You could add them or leave them out, with very similar results, I am sure. We really wanted the flavor from the ham and cheese.

Everything Crepes

5 eggs
3 tbsp almond flour
1 tsp coconut flour
1 tsp dehydrated onion flakes
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp course ground pepper
Coconut oil for frying

Break eggs into a medium bowl. Beat with a fork. Add in almond flour, coconut flour, onion flakes, seeds, salt and pepper. Stir well. making sure coconut flour is well blended. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Tilt the skillet to help the batter make a thin layer covering the bottom. Keep the mixture thin or the crepe will be more like a pancake. Cook for a minute or two until the top loses the shine. Carefully flip the crepe to cook the other side. Makes 4-6 crepes, depending on the size of the pan.

If your skillet is large enough, these are big enough to wrap burrito style, tucking the bottom of the crepe under the sides. That makes them a little neater, but smaller is fine too simply rolled. Crepes are delicious filled with all kinds of goodies. They make a great way to use up leftovers too, Easter or not!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tie Dye Easter

This is a photo of my Tie Dye Cheesecake all done up for Easter. This is cut into bunny shapes from a couple of years ago. I did make this again this morning, for tomorrow's family get together. With all the kids home, we were then out the door and didn't get home til late. The whole bunch got together and dyed eggs at my mom's house. Yes, my boys are too old for it, but we still do it because it is fun and a family tradition. Our prize for the coolest this year went to my oldest son's football egg. It does take some dipping to get a brown egg! Our ugly award went to my youngest son, who managed to make an olive green egg. Still don't know how he managed that!We go to church on Saturday evenings, so we headed out, with blue and purple fingers from coloring eggs. We have already had our Easter service...which was awesome~ Tomorrow will be a slower paced morning with just some devotional time and some wonderful food with the extended family.

This year, I made the cheesecake in an Easter Egg shaped mold. If it comes out clean I will be sure to get photo in the morning light. Even if you don't have an elaborate menu planned, this is quite fun to put together and pleases most people. It is just a light no bake cheesecake--almost more like a cheesecake flavored creamy gelatin. Fun to get creative with and very hard to mess up! The recipe is in Low Carbing Among Friends Volume 1 page 263.

Here is the shot of the one we are eating later today. I found this cute egg shaped mold at Hobby Lobby last year. Gotta love those 80% off sales.

Tie Dye Cheesecake

1 cup cold water
1 envelope dry gelatin
16 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup powdered erythritol
1 tsp vanilla (Clear vanilla will keep the cheesecake brighter)

Pour cold water into a small microwavable bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the surface of the water and let it absorb five minutes. While that is sitting, use a mixer in a medium bowl to combine the cream cheese, erythritol and vanilla. Heat the gelatin for 1 minute on high in the microwave oven. Remove and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the gelatin to the cream cheese and mix well.

Divide the mixture into the number of colors you plan to tint. Add food coloring to the desired shade. Once colors are blended, use a large spoon to to drop the  cheesecake mixture into a pie plate, silicone form or casserole dish. Alternate colors to create a tie dye effect. Chill well before unmolding or cutting.

To make cut out shapes, use a casserole dish to make a thinner layer of cheesecake. Use cookie cutters to create shapes and lift carefully onto serving plate. Keep the shapes chilled.

8 servings   at 209 calories,   4 g protein   20 g fat   4 g carbs

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

Order our books at:

Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Among Friends Thursday --My Bacon Cheeseburger Soup and Jennifer's Cheese Biscuits

Cheesy, yummy, no inclination this meal could ever be low carb! A long time ago a reader asked me for a recipe for Cheeseburger Soup. Most of the ones I found were really more like vegetable soups--nothing really akin to the All American Cheeseburger. I changed that! This has all those burger tastes--even pickles and mustard. It works, even if it sounds a little odd. If you don't like pickles, leave them out. I know for some folk, pickles on a burger go straight to the trash--my mom for one.

What do you like on your burger? Put it in a soup bowl and enjoy!

1/2 pound bacon (250 g)
2 pounds ground chuck (0.9 kg)
 1/4 cup onion, chopped (60 mL)
32 oz beef broth (1 kg)
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (411 mL)
2 dill pickle spears, diced finely
3 tbsp mustard (30 mL)
3 tbsp sugarfree ketchup (30 mL)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (5 mL)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (2mL)
8 oz American cheese slices (250 g)
4 oz cream cheese (125 g)

In a large skillet, fry bacon then set it on paper towels to cool. Brown ground chuck with the chopped onion. Drain fat.

Add meat and onion mixture, broth, tomatoes, pickles, mustard, ketchup and liquid smoke to a Dutch oven. Cook over low heat about thirty minutes. Remove one cup of soup and add xanthan gum. Blend it in a bullet style blender until thickened. Return it to the pot and stir.

Cut cream cheese into cubes and add to the hot soup, stirring until combined. Add American cheese slices and stir until they are melted in.  Crumble reserved bacon and add it to the soup just before serving.

8 servings  549 calories  4 net carbs     21 g fat

The best way to round out the soup supper is to add a salad--afterall, I did not add the lettuce to the soup. Also great is another addition from the Low Carbing Among Friends Cookbook. Jennifer's Cheese Biscuits. I promise you that these are better than any old hamburger bun! In combination, this meal is a huge favorite.

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

Order our books at:

Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tamari Eggs

If you have any kiddos around, you know what is coming. A week of every hard boiled egg recipe you know. Since the Diner News for April just happens to be devoted to the humble egg, I thought you might be interested in a sampling from the newsletter. After all, you will have eggs. Even if you don't color them, eggs will be bargains this week.

Now I am not exactly a hard boiled egg expert. Eggs sometimes upset my tummy, so I seldom eat hard boiled eggs. These did not! Yeah! I seem to run into more trouble when I combine eggs with veggies. Hmm. I have eaten a lot of eggs while testing recipes the last couple of weeks. I really do think that is the combo of veggies that ends up uncomfortable for me. Any of you nutrition experts know what's up with that?

I love Tamari on about anything, so when I saw a picture of these beautiful mahogany colored eggs on Pinterest, I pinned them. Then I tried them. Despite soaking mine an extra long time, they never turned that color. Sad, I know. But they do taste really good. So, still a winner. I must not have a high enough grade of Tamari. Still, flavor is more important, and these rock. Great for lunch boxes or high protein snacking.

Just be as careful as possible when peeling them. Little knicks make them look more speckled. I tried the recipe for baking eggs in the oven instead of hard boiling. Yah that does work too. But they were a little harder to peel, and some of mine ended up a little flat on one end.  Did you know you can also use a pressure cooker to hard boil eggs too? Go figure. It is not just boiled anymore. I cannot testify to the pressure cooker version, as my gasket needs replacing. Gotta get to that soon.

Tamari Eggs

Hard boil 4-6 eggs. Peel the shells as carefully as possible to prevent tearing. Heat 1/4 cup soy sauce or Tamari in a small pan. Add the eggs and turn off heat. Let the eggs soak in the hot soy sauce for at least 30 minutes, turning the eggs every few minutes to make sure the whole surface is coated. For a darker color, transfer the eggs and sauce to a storage bag and chill for 2-6 hours longer in the refrigerator.

I think the longer you soak the eggs in the Tamari, the more the sauce gets distributed through the white. All in all, these eggs may not have turned out to be real lookers, but the taste is unusual and worth a try. You are going to have hard boiled eggs anyway, right? We are expecting all the boys to be home for the Easter weekend.  I just got of photo of my soon to be daughter-in-law in the wedding dress she chose. Such a special time! Still a year until the wedding, but fun none the less.

By the way, thanks for the prayers for Emily. She is doing well, and we believe this will be the end of her pain.